Is Your Heart Committed? Is His?

Women, in particular, are looking for commitment. Hollywood, the media, and dating websites all focus on getting a marriage proposal. The art of seduction pre-dates expert Cleopatra. Dozens of books have been written about getting an unavailable man to say, "I do." For six years, Carrie Bradshaw of "Sex in the City" tried to get Mr. Big to commit.

But is there a commitment of the heart? It's one thing to get married, it's another to have a deep emotional connection. Both men and women often create obstacles to getting the love they want. They may avoid inconvenience with time spent at work, watching television, engaging in hobbies or sports. Addiction by either spouse blocks intimacy. Women complain their husbands spend too much time on the computer or watching sports. Yet, women may spend time cleaning, volunteering, or criticizing their husbands or boyfriends or be over-emotionally involved with their children. To be clear, I'm not talking about the demands of raising young children or the necessity of working two jobs to pay the bills. Stress makes intimate harder, but does not need to eliminate it, unless it's an excuse.

Fear of discomfort may show up in the bedroom. One man complained about his wife's coldness. He had an affair, only to discover that he was now impotent with his new lover. As walls build, the lack of communication usually will ever affect sexual intrusion.

Not infrequently, one spouse is unconsciously married to someone else. In one marriage, the husband's heart was still committed to his late wife. It was as if her ghost slept between them. In another, the husband cheated, but it was not the lovers who had stolen his heart – it was his mother! In another case, the husband was unfaithful, but the real cause of their marital problems lay in the wife's emotional marriage to her older brother, who died when she was a child. It sometimes happens with twins who are so close that no one else can share that intimate. It also can be a problem in step-families. One single mom found fault with every boyfriend, but she was not ready for romance. She did not realize her overly-involvement with her son was the problem. Similarly, in a marriage one parent may avoid intimacy by using a child of the opposite sex as an emotional surrogate. In these cases the unavailable partner is unconscious of their contribution to the very maritime problem about which they complain and think it's their mate's fault. Frequently, they must grieve and let go before they can open to their spouse.

People rarely believe that getting the love that they seek might be a problem. Connie finally overcame her pattern of loving abusers, and found Mark, a kind and gentle man. Being loved proved to be more terrifying to Connie than the familiar abuse. Her entire life and personality had been built around the belief that she was unlovable. She was sure that Mark would leave when he discovered the "truth" about her that she imagined was bad. Mark had his own self-esteem issues, and before Connie, he had always dated overweight women, in whom he ever lost sexual interest. He worried Connie would leave. Sharing their fears, not only helped them to heal their wounds, but moved them closer to a commitment of the heart.

What makes intimate so difficult? It requires vulnerability – risking openness. Everyone's been hurt before, and I mean everyone. From childhood onwards, people get hurt even by well-intentioned parents, by friends, teachers, and lovers, and by losses due to death, illness, rejection, and divorce. Animals, including humans, are programmed to avoid pain. It's hard-wired into your brain in order to survive. It requires awareness, intention, and courage to feel everything that may arise once the heart is open. If it's been wounded before, no one wants to re-open an old wound. Opening your heart to love will open those wounds. But it's also an an opportunity to heal, rather than seal them it over.

Copyright © Darlene Lancer 2010

How to Strip Cloth Diapers 101

Stripping cloth diapers sucks. My partner and I had to learn how to strip cloth diapers the very hard way. I have a very vivid and very smelly memory of my first strip. It was about ten weeks into my cloth diapering experience, and an internet forum advised me to strip our diapers after my partner and I noticed that walking into the boys’ room in the morning was almost like stepping into an alternative reality and ending up in stable with about one hundred horses. Puuuuh! My eyes would practically water from the strong smell of ammonia. I really felt for my poor dears, having to actually sleep in it.

So we had to quickly learn how to strip cloth diapers or throw them away. The throwing away was not an option really, but we made a major mess after mixing dishwashing liquid and bleach (damn you internet!) in the same wash, forcing us to run away from our own home for a weekend, plus we ended up three dozen diapers short. But memories made, lesson learnt and that mistake was never repeated.

Why Strip?

Stripping diapers is essential to remove the buildup of ammonia, bacteria, detergents, minerals from hard water, and oils in diapers. This is because there are parts of the diaper (like inserts and pockets) where sufficient water does not reach during a regular wash. Hot water works to remove this accumulated dirt and bacteria during stripping and will eliminate that funky smell, increase absorbency as well as reduce the risk of rashes and yeast infections for your baby.

Before Stripping

The first rule of stripping diapers is: never to strip dirty diapers because that will leave your diapers looking like junior did an enthusiastic paint job in yellowish-brownish colors. You don’t want that to happen because if it does, you can forget all about your pristine white inserts and liners that were the pride and joy of your diaper drawer.

Clean your diapers before stripping

  1. Remove any solid waste by shaking it off into the toilet;
  2. put your diapers in the washer and run a cold rinse to remove any remaining waste particles;
  3. add a little (quarter to half cup should do) of your regular diaper detergent;
  4. run through one wash cycle with hot water. Run through a warm water rinse followed by a cold water rinse and ‘voila’ your diapers are ready to strip.

Tip: After the wash, you can soak your diapers overnight in a wash pail (or good ol’ bathtub) with a few drops of peppermint oil for an extra touch of freshness after stripping.

Stripping Cloth Diapers in a Washing Machine

What You Need

  1. Washing machine (of course!)
  2. An additive (like dishwashing liquid)
  3. Extra hot water that you can heat on your stove in a stock pot
  4. Flashlight (for front loading machines)


Time: three to four hours

  1. Put your pre-washed diapers in the washing machine with a teaspoon of dishwashing Liquid. Do not add any detergent. You should do an average twenty diapers per wash.
  2. Run a hot wash cycle with the most hot water possible and at the highest temperature setting. If your machine does not run enough hot water, heat some water on your stove and add it to the wash during the hot cycle. This only works for top loading machines not front loaders.
  3. Run a hot water rinse if your machine has this setting. If not, run a warm water rinse. Follow this with a cold water rinse and another warm water rinse.
  4. If you have a top loading machine, open the top periodically to check for the presence of bubbles. If you have a front loading machine, use your flashlight to check for bubbles.
  5. Run alternating warm/cold rinses (four to five should do) until there is no more effervescence (bubbles). Agitation bubbles will quickly disappear once you stop the machine but soap bubbles will stay around for a bit, and this means you need another rinse.
  6. After thorough rinsing, take out your diapers and hang to dry in direct sunlight (if possible) for that extra touch of freshness and natural bleaching.

Tip: If dishwashing liquid does not work for you, you can try other additives such as stain removers as a replacement.

More Diaper Stripping Tips

  • With stripping, you will find that you need to try one or two methods before you get the right formula that works for you. If you use a washing machine and the funk refuses to go away, one of these could be the problem:

    • Not using enough detergent during your regular washes.
    • Not using enough hot water during your regular washes or during stripping.
    • The water itself not being hot enough during the stripping process.

Try adding a full extra cupful of detergent when stripping, or adding extra hot water (if you use a top loader washing machine) boiled on your kitchen stove to the wash cycle during stripping.

  • Grapefruit or grapefruit seed extract are effective at killing yeast and can be added to the overnight soak before stripping your diapers.
  • Try to separate natural fibers (cotton, hemp, bamboo) from artificial fibers (microfiber, fleece, PUL) when stripping because some artificial fibers cannot withstand extremely high temperatures and additives such as bleach.
  • Check on warranty guidelines for your cloth diaper as some diapers, especially artificial diapers come with warnings not to immerse in extremely hot water.
  • You can use apple cider as an additive instead of vinegar if you have hard water. Half cup of apple cider should do the trick.

Absolute Don’ts

  • Never ever mix bleach with vinegar. The reaction between the two produces chlorine gas which is highly toxic. Either add bleach alone to your wash but not the two together. Do not try this at home.
  • Never use vinegar as an additive during your stripping routine if you use hard water. The various minerals in the hard water will react with the vinegar, and if you thought the stunk in your diapers was bad before, then you will need to fumigate your house when vinegar meets hard water. With hard water, opt for another additive or use a water softener.
  • Avoid soaking your diapers overnight in your washing machine as this might lead to rust build up in some machines.

How To Sell Guitars – Make Money Selling Guitars and Musical Equipment

Are you looking to become a guitar reseller or open a guitar store?

I can tell you from experience that selling guitars is a fun and rewarding business to pursue. I love meeting musicians, helping to spread the music, and frankly, I just love being around guitars. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you’re learning how to sell guitars:

Business Licensing/Taxes

The first thing to keep in mind when selling anything in large quantities is business licensing and taxes. First, make sure you keep a record of everything you’ve sold. When it comes time to pay taxes, you’ll need to know the exact nature of the business you’ve done. One of the biggest worries with a start-up reselling business is getting audited by the IRS. In the event of an audit, the more information you can provide the better. As you begin to make a modest profit from reselling, make sure to set money aside for taxes. In many states, the buyer is required to pay sales tax for each transaction, and it’s the seller’s responsibility to set this money aside at the time of the transaction.

You will also need to obtain a business license. These are easy to acquire in most states for a small fee. In many states, a reseller business license will come with a Reseller Permit, with which one is able to purchase in bulk without having to pay a state sales tax. If you start selling a lot of guitars, such as more than 5 per month, then you should seriously consider obtaining a business license. Along with helping your business to be more accountable, it often earns you special rights and tax breaks that will help your business grow.

Finding Your Niche

There are many ways to sell guitars. Websites like Craigslist and eBay are great places to sell guitars, but they often have plenty of competition. Depending on where you’re located, Craigslist might be a great way to spread the word locally. There are many people who are good at repairing, modifying, or parting out guitars (taking them apart and selling the parts separately). Your “niche” will depend partially on your location, but mainly it will depend on your passion. If you love talking to people in a private setting, Craigslist might be your best bet. If you love tinkering with and parting out guitars, you could consider selling parts on eBay, or to a local music shop. If you love the idea of opening up a storefront, or augmenting one you may already own with some quality guitars, maybe you’re meant to be a guitar salesman. If you don’t know which method will work best for you, it can never hurt to try things out. You’ll never know if you don’t try!

Opening a Guitar Store

Opening a guitar store can be a huge challenge, but it can also be very rewarding. With the recent interest in the internet and online retail, many guitar shops are going out of business. Guitar Center and Musician’s Friend, two of the top guitar stores in the country, have grown so large that it’s often nearly impossible to compete with them directly. That doesn’t mean that it’s not possible. When opening a guitar store, make sure you’re offering a completely unique service. Whether your store has the perfect location, selection, staff, or pricing, it’s imperative that your store has the perfect something. We are living in troubling economic times, but that doesn’t mean that stores are closing for no reason. It simply means that, as the times change and technology evolves, so does the public demand for services. One must look at their business and be able to clearly see the areas in which they excel. Find out what makes (or could make) your guitar store great, and keep it up. Publicize your specialty, let everyone know what it is you do and why you’re the best for them.

Be Creative

As I said before, there are many ways to sell guitars. One of the best things you can do when creating your guitar business is to think outside the box and be creative. With enough creativity, you can create a whole new way to do business and thus create a whole new market. Regardless of the state of the economy, consumers will always pay for something great, something they believe in. Your customers are people, and they get excited about new things. People love having fun, and they love watching things improve and being a part of the future. It’s important to realize that your ideal guitar business model might be something that’s never been done before, but also something that there’s a huge demand for. Write a list of all the ways that you could sell guitars, then keep going, keep writing. No idea is too crazy. Creative businesses are the way of the future, and there’s nothing stopping you from creating the top guitar business in the world.

Shop for Discount/Wholesale Guitars in Bulk

You may have a pretty good idea of what your guitar business will look like and how you will start it up. Now you need the product, and you need it at the right price. How do the big guitar companies do it? Sometimes they have invested millions of dollars in their relationships with major manufacturers, ensuring that they get the best exclusive deal on all the goods. Most of the time, they just have a smart business model. It’s easy to get tons of musical equipment to sell, you just have to follow some strict rules, and pay top dollar. Many stores sell new, name brand equipment, and make 0% profit. The new equipment is just a way to get people in the door, and all of the profit is made from selling used equipment. This is just an example, but you should keep in mind that some products are made to attract customers, while others are made to give you the profits you’re looking for.

Working With Manufacturers

If you plan on selling refurbished guitars, sometimes it’s a great idea to supplement your inventory with new guitars directly from the manufacturers. Sometimes these guitars can be very difficult to acquire, and even more difficult to make a profit from, but they can definitely help get you some foot traffic (or internet traffic). Most manufacturers are more than willing to let you sell their products, assuming you follow their strict guidelines. For example, most will require you to have a storefront (which can’t be too close to another authorized dealer), sell a certain amount of guitars per month, purchase a large amount of their products up front (often you will not be able to choose which guitars to purchase), and charge no less than the price they determine. For a small business, it can be rough. But if you know what you’re getting into, working with manufacturers can be a great way to increase your business. If someone buys a new guitar from you, they’re more likely to come back for another. If someone walks in your door to buy a new guitar, they might be open to getting a refurbished one instead. The more business the better, as long as you can meet all the requirements.

Preparation of Profit and Loss Account

Explanation of Certain items of Profit and Loss Account

1. Salaries

Salaries are paid for the services of employees and are debited to profit and loss ac- count being indirect expense. If any salary has been paid to proprietor or partners, it should be shown separately because it requires special treatment at the time of income tax assessment.

2. Salaries and Wages

When wages account is included with salaries it treated is as indirect expense and is taken into profit and loss account.

3. Rent

Rent of the office shop showroom or godown is an indirect expense and so is debited to profit & loss account. However, rent of factory is debited to trading account. When a part of the building has been sublet the rent received should be shown on the credit side of profit and loss account as a separate item.

4. Rates and Taxes

These are levied by the local authorities to meet public expenditure. It being an indirect expenditure is shown on the debit side of profit and loss account.

5. Interest

Interest on loan, overdraft or overdue debts is payable by the firm. It is an indirect expense; so debited to profit and loss account. Interest on loan advanced by the firm on depositor investments is an income of the firm and so is credited to the profit and loss account.

If business has paid any interest on capital to its proprietor or partners it should also be debited in the profit and loss account but separately because this item needs special treatment at the time of income-tax assessment.

6. Commission

In business sometimes agents are appointed to effect sales, who are paid commission as their remuneration. So this being a selling expenses is shown on the debit side of profit and loss account. Sometimes commission is also paid on purchases of goods, such ‘as expense should be debited in the trading account. Sometimes the firm can also act as an agent to the other business houses and in such cases it receives commission from them. Commission so received is shown on the credit side of profit and loss account.

7. Trade Expenses

They are also termed as ‘sundry expenses’. Trade expenses represent expenses of such a nature for which it is not worthwhile to open separate accounts. Trade expenses are not taken to trading account.

8. Repairs

Repairs to the plant, machinery, building are indirect expenses are treated expense and are debited to profit and loss account..

9. Traveling Expenses

Unless mentioned otherwise, traveling expenses are treated as indirect expenses and are debited to profit and loss account.

10. Horse & stable Expenses

Expenses incurred for the fodder of horses and wages paid for looking after stable are treated as indirect expenses and debited to profit and loss account.

11. Apprentice Premium

This is the amount charged from persons to whom training is imparted by the business. It is an income and is credited to profit and loss account. In case apprentice premium is charged in advance for two or three years, then the amount is distributed over number of years and each year’s profit and loss account is credited with its share of income.

12. Bad debts

It is the amount which could not be recovered by the trader on account of credit sales. It is a business loss, so is debited in the profit and loss account.

13. Life Insurance Premium

If the premium is paid on the life policy of the proprietor of the business; it is treated as his drawings and is shown by way of deduction from the capital account. It should not be taken to profit and loss account.

14. Insurance Premium

If insurance premium account appears in the trial balance, it stands for the insurance of the business. This is taken to profit and loss account. Insurance premium on goods purchased, factory building, factory machines are treated as direct expense and are taken to trading account.

15. Income Tax

In the case of merchant income-tax paid is treated as a personal expense and is shown by way of deduction from capital account. Income-tax in case of companies is treated differently.

16. Discount allowed and Received

Discount is a reward for prompt payment. It is belief to show discount received and discount allowed separately on the credit and debit side of profit and loss account respectively instead of showing the net balance of this account.

17. Depreciation

Depreciation is a loss incurred on account of use of fixed assets in the business. Generally, it is charged from profit and loss account at a fixed percentage. The students should exercise great care as regards the rate of depreciation. If rate is without words ‘per annum’, then the rate will be taken irrespective of the period of accounts. This is very important when the period of accounts is less than one year. On the other hand, if the rate of depreciation is ‘per annum’ the depreciation should be calculated on the assets with due consideration to the period for which the asset has been used in business during the year. In case of additions to assets during the year, it is advisable to ignore depreciation on additions if the date of additions is not given. Same rule shall hold good for the sale of assets during the year.

18. Stock at the end appearing in the trial balance.

It is important to emphasize the rule that balance appearing in the trial balance is taken to one and only one place. It may either be trading account or profit and loss account or balance sheet. Since stock at the end is an asset, it will betaken to balance sheet. On the other hand, so long as there is stock in trade, account for that must be kept open and thus be taken to the assets side of balance sheet.

So God Made a Wrestler

God looked down on his paradise and was pleased. He looked upon all of the peoples of the earth. He noticed the many sports that athletes participated in. God said, “I need to create the ultimate sport and the ultimate athlete.” So God made a wrestler.

God said, “I need an athlete who is willing to participate in a sport that requires discipline, sacrifice, dedication, hard work, and commitment.” So God made a wrestler.

“I need an athlete who is willing to face another athlete one-on-one in the most physically demanding sport in existence with no one else to help him and yet not be afraid.” So He made a wrestler.

“I need an athlete who can defeat his opponent with strength, power, speed, agility, and technical skills. He needs to be able to endure the toughest six or seven minutes that a person could ever endure in the sporting world.” So God made a wrestler.

God said, “I need person who is willing to get up at 6:00 a.m. so he can run five miles before going to school. I need that same person to attend classes, make it through a demanding two hour wrestling practice, and then still come home and do his homework.” So God made a wrestler.

God had to have someone willing to practice the same move for hours, day after day until he had it perfected. So He made a wrestler.

God said, “I need an athlete who declares as a boy that one day he will be an Olympic champion and never doubts himself.” So God made a wrestler.

“I need an athlete who can lose his final college match making it his only loss during his high school and college career. I need that same athlete to bounce back more determined than ever. I need that athlete to win the Olympic gold medal in a dominating fashion and then go on to become one of the greatest wrestling coaches in collegiate history.” So God made a wrestler.

God said, “I need an athlete who is willing to shoot a million low single legs in his lifetime and perform a leg lace fifty times a day because he knows the value of drilling.” So He made a wrestler.

God had to have someone who could get pinned one week and then defeat that same opponent the following week to win the conference championship because he believed in himself and in his abilities. So God made a wrestler.

God said, “I need an athlete who is willing to work hard for four years and never regret it even though he never makes the varsity team. I need an athlete who will stick with it because he knows it is making him a better person.” So He made a wrestler.

“I need an athlete who is willing to practice three times a day preparing for the NCAA Tournament because his coach thinks that is what is needed to be prepared. I need another of his teammates to run 10 miles three times a week in addition to attending regular wrestling practice because his coach thinks that will give him the edge going into the NCAA Tournament.” So God made a wrestler.

God said, “I need an athlete that can be undefeated for thirteen years of international competition and then lose a match with the whole world watching and yet still be a gentleman and shake his opponent’s hand.” So God made a wrestler.

“I need an athlete who can face a man that hasn’t lost a match in thirteen years and yet feel up to the challenge and never doubt himself.” So He made a wrestler.

“I need an athlete who can become a seven time world champion and a three time Olympic gold medal winner becoming one of the best in his sport of all time.” So God made a wrestler.

God needed an athlete who would run wind sprints until his lungs burned and his legs ached. He needed that same person to do push-ups until his arms could no longer lift his body up for even one more repetition. God needed an athlete willing to work to the point of utter exhaustion. So He made a wrestler.

God said, “I need an athlete who is willing to turn down a candy bar or a cheeseburger because he needs to make weight the next day. I need an athlete who is willing to eat a bland but healthy diet, because he wants to be in peak condition, even though he’d much rather eat pizza and drink soda pop.” So He made a wrestler.

“I need an athlete who can work twelve hour days at a summer job and yet still make practicing and working out a priority.” So He made a wrestler.

God needed an athlete to practice his skills, lift weights, run, eat healthy, strive for perfection, overcome defeat, show good sportsmanship, toil, sweat, bleed, and sometimes even cry. So God made a wrestler.

God said, “I need an athlete who develops the character, values, self-discipline, and work ethic that will be with him even after his days of competition are over.” So God made a wrestler.

Thanks for reading this bit of creative work. I hope you found something inspiring in its words.

Creative Marketing Ideas For Furniture Stores

Furniture stores have developed a reputation for marketing strategy-a sale for every holiday imaginable, no payments for 90 days, or no interest for 3 years are commonly-used promotional tools to drive sales. These certainly work, but they’re not exactly unique. If you’re new to the furniture market or you’re looking for a way to stand out from the crowd, you’ll want to choose something that doesn’t involve Uncle Sam or Santa Claus. Here are some great options.

  1. Online classifieds-Websites like Craigslist and eBay have made the online classified ad sales process very easy. Customers turn to these places to check out merchandise before entering a store, so list your product here to reach them! Hire a part-time employee to photograph your merchandise and list it on these sites, or you can even subcontract the work to business specifically-designed for the task.
  2. In-store training-Hosting in-store training classes or seminars is a great way to reach out to the home-improvement market. Bring in interior decorators to discuss home staging, décor selection, or even remodeling tips using your merchandise. These types of classes add value to your store, and the customers see you as more than just a transaction-based business-you’re part of their lifestyle. Promote these events by hanging a vinyl banner outside your store listing the dates and times for each class.
  3. Trade-in-Consider adding a customer trade-in program to your store, where the customer brings in their old furniture and receives a credit towards new merchandise. If the furniture’s in good enough shape, you can create a used section in your store for great bargains. If it’s not in resalable condition, you can donate the furniture or at the very least dispose of it for your customer. This is again a way to make your store a convenience provider and encourage customers to remain loyal to you. List this service in your store windows using vinyl decals.
  4. New homes-Create a partnership with a local real estate agent, broker, or homebuilder. Since homes always sell better with furniture in them, offer to stage their new homes with your merchandise in exchange for referrals. You can also add a sign in each home letting customers know where the furniture came from in-case they’d like to purchase it with the house or at least shop your store for a different selection. Some real estate agents might even want to purchase a piece of furniture directly from you as a house-warming gift for their new homeowners!
  5. Try before you buy-This bold strategy offers customers a chance to “test-drive” your furniture, so to speak. Selected customers are able to try furniture in their home for a preset amount of time to determine if they want to purchase it. Although this shouldn’t be offered for all of your products as it could become a logistical nightmare, it can be an effective way to boost sales. After all, if it’s up to the customer to take the furniture home and bring it back, odds are they’re going to keep it. Make sure you have a vinyl decal at your cash register clearly explaining the rules of the program so there are no issues.

Korean War: Victory or Defeat?

On paper and in history, the Korean War was seen as neither a victory or a defeat. A cease fire and peace treaty was written between them instead. The battles went on for 3 long years. On July 27, 1953 the two sides signed an armistice and a new border was established on a few miles from the original 1950 border. In my opinion the Korean conflict/war was a success in ways other than the original goals set by the United States.

The war ended in a draw. Both sides agreed to a cease fire and signed an armistice. The Korean War did not end in a total victory for the United States or anyone else. Instead, both sides settled for an uneasy peace that still exists to this day at the time of the writing of this article 12-24-15.

Did the United States experience their first defeat? The answer to that question may be more in the minds of people who study what actually happened and what is happening today. The way I see it, the end result has been a victory when you compare what is happening today in South Korea to what was happening before the attack, before one of the bloodiest wars our world ever saw, and in comparison to North Korea today.

Why did the United States enter this war? Many people felt and might even still feel today that the United States did not belong there. I have heard this myself even in this year of 2015. People grumble saying, “we did not belong in Korea.”

I strongly disagree. My own father was one who fought in Korea from 1950 to 1953. He was just a young boy age 16 entering the military at Fort Knox, Kentucky Army base for a military career. He got sent directly into a violent and horrific bloody conflict during some of the roughest weather anyone could ever imagine. He spent much of his time there in battles in tanks. Short recreation breaks were spent in Japan.

One of his greatest memories of course was the time he was wounded trying to save another fellow soldier and did save him. He would say over and over again as if elated: “they covered me up for dead, but I was still alive.”

This was a technique done by his fellow soldiers by moving the tank over his wounded body to hide him from the enemy as he was then pulled up into the tank to wait for the M.A.S.H. units.

He was taken to a hospital in Japan where they placed a steel plate in his chest that he had no idea even existed until he found out he had lung cancer later in life at age 56. He died of lung cancer.

The specialists said “we want to know more about this steel plate we found on x-ray in your chest.” Dad did not even know he had a steel plate. It had to have been placed there while in the Korean War at the hospital in Japan. He received a chest wound. Just think of that, and I do very often now, only 16 years old laying now under an Army tank, not knowing if he would survive or not.

I still strongly disagree. Dad came out of it alive, was wounded once, received a purple heart for his bravery and was one of those who returned to the United States, got a job and tried to “forget” he was ever there, but never did forget it. He watched every war movie he could find and never missed an episode of “The Big Picture.”

I was born in 1956 and I remember much of his early life after that war. He would wake up in the middle of the night “reciting orders” over and over again, sometimes screaming and crying. He suffered from the memories of that war, but never once said he was sorry he went. He said the worst part of it all to him was to see the suffering little children. Many of the fatalities of that war were innocent civilians.

Why was the United States in Korea 1950 to 1953?

The United States responded to South Korea’s defense after North Korea invaded. The original goals were to restore the international border along the 38th Parallel and to eject North Korean forces from South Korea territories. Everyone actually thought the conflict was over until the Chinese entered into the picture.

United States leaders also wanted to show North Korea that this kind of aggression would not be tolerated. To this day, year of 2015, North Korea still shows hostility toward South Korea. There has been no more conflict equal to what was in the 1950’s. For this reason among other reasons, I think the decision to enter the conflict ended in more of a victory than a defeat. It seems evident to me that all who entered that conflict in opposition of communism did put a lid on the horrific aggression toward innocent people.

Additional reasons I see this as being a victory for the United States:

When you compare the economy of North Korea to the economy of South Korea today we find the war allowed for a rebirth of South Korea. Since the end of the 1950’s conflict/war and cessation of extreme hostilities South Korea has grown into a vibrant and powerful republic.

People all over the world now benefit from South Korea’s economic success. The capital of South Korea, Seoul, has become an international center of commerce and industry. Today, South Koreans enjoy one of the highest standards of living in the world.

None of the above would have happened had the communists been successful in their invasion of the South.

By contrast, North Korea is one of the best examples of communism’s failure. The United Nations reports that the North Korean economy is ranked much lower than South Korea in the world. North Koreans suffer much more from starvation and malnutrition.

Meanwhile, the South Koreans are thriving. Businesses like Daewoo, Hyundai, LG, Samsung, Kia Automotives are some of the largest business conglomerates in the world and have become household names in U.S. family rooms, garages and offices.

Everyday, I see more and more Kia automobiles on the roads. I have considered purchasing a Kia Soul automobile now for years and probably will eventually buy one if I need another vehicle. My old chevy still runs! But when I have need of a new automobile, I am always looking toward the Kia as purchasing one. At first, I had no idea, Kia was actually based out South Korea.

Without the United States and these other nations who joined in to fight against the communist aggression in the 1950’s, none of the things for South Korea would be in existence today. We today would not be enjoying the economic growth in South Korea. It is a good thing also the President stopped the atomic bombing efforts as well, as it would have taken over 100 years for any kind of civilization to be in that area again.

As recorded in our history, there were mistakes made as there are in any kind of war, many innocent people were killed, but the positive outcomes of this war still tells me it was definitely a victory, not a defeat, for the United States in terms of “long term events.”

PHCS Health Insurance Quotes, Plans, and Company Review

When looking for health insurance it is very important to keep in mind that there are many companies out there that will try offering you the best prices for your needs. However, not all of them are known all around the United States and not all of them offer you the same benefits. One of the many companies offering coverage in the continental United States is Private Health Care Systems best known as PHCS. They are the primary national PPO network and care management product of the company MultiPlan.

Before talking about PHSC it’s important to know a little bit more about the parent company. MultiPlan was founded in 1970 and is the oldest and largest of independent, network-based cost management solutions. They have more than half a million health care providers that service an estimated 40 million consumers. To top it all of the estimated millions of consumers have about 70 million claims that are processed through MultiPlan’s networks each year. How about that for a health insurance option?

On the other hand Private Health Care Systems (Owned by MultiPlan as said before) has the largest proprietary preferred provider (PPO) organization in all the United States. With about 450,000 members attending one of the 4,000 facilities PHCS members have access to a variety of providers around the United States. They are also the first and only propriety network to earn five endorsements due to quality from two nationally recognized quality assurance organizations, URAC and the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA).

PHCS’ job is to contact their providers in order for them to allow their network member to visit them at lower costs. The network also has something referred to as a “High network retention rate” which means that once a customer selects a Primary Care Physician (PCP) that doctor will remain available all through their health plan. Most of the people that are members of this great network include large employers such as companies and enterprises, commercial insurance carriers, regional managed cared organizations and third party administrators. The PHCS network offers the following to its members:

National Access with Excellent Cost Savings: No matter where the members are, they offer a variety of services from coast to coast. You can contact them at (866) 750-7427 to see how much they can save you in health care costs.

PHCS Healthy Directions: Eliminates the need of having an HMO, PPO or POS because it pays full charges for services when a member travels or goes to school outside the coverage area. As a member you will be able to have freedom in order for you to choose a provider from within the national network, to lower your out of pocket costs for members with providers in the PHCS Network, and to call a toll free number in your I.D. card for provider information.

Quality: PHCS didn’t just link a variety of little networks and pierce them together, instead they created a national network that allows them to credential and re-credential their providers to maintain good quality healthcare.

Private Health Care Systems is a care management company as well as network based insurance. PHCS is the second largest independent care management company functioning in the United States today. Their care management specialists review any patients’ cases to make certain that patients receive the best treatment available as well as giving them freedom to from a variety of options that nest suit their unique utilization review needs. You are able to employ this care management system in the area of your business where it will make the biggest impact. PHCS Core Plan includes the following utilization management products, however, is important to keep in mind that you can add some supplemental products that will be discussed below in addition to the Core Value ones.

Core Value Plan:

1. Concurrent Review

2. Certification

3. Discharge Planning

Additional Supplemental Modules that can be purchased:

1. Chiropractic Review

2. Selective CT/MRI Review

3. Podiatry Review

4. Outpatient Rehabilitation Review

What To Look For In The Interior Fit Out Company To Hire

When you step into an office, what is the first thing that catches your eye? More often than not, it would probably be the interior design.

The interior design of any office can say a great deal about how a company perceives itself. For a company who wants to look professional and presentable, it is important that its office interior fit out design conveys this message so that it can impress new and retain its current clients or customers.

Since having an impressive office is tantamount to having good business, it is crucial to get help from a seasoned interior fit out company to have the look you want for your work place. Although it may be tempting to cut costs when it comes to office interiors and simply embark on a DIY office improvement project, the truth is that by investing well in the workmanship, materials and design aspects of office interiors, you are effectively reducing the risk of having to repair or refurbish any area or element of the workplace before you planned to. But to make sure that you will be getting your money’s worth out of an investment in enhancing your office interior, it is important to choose the right interior fit out company to hire. Below are some of the important things you have to look for in the interior fit out company you should work with:

Ample experience. Make sure you know how much experience in interior fit outs the contractor you are thinking of hiring has. Obviously, the more projects they’ve completed, the better. Pick a company that has done projects of varying scales across a wide range of industries. In general, the broader the scope of their experience and knowledge, the more they will bring to the table. To get an idea of the work the company does, look at their portfolio of completed projects.

Technical expertise. As a probable client, your knowledge regarding the technical aspects of interior fit outs may vary, but the contractor should be able to demonstrate their technical proficiency to you. To gauge their level of technical expertise, ask them about technical issues they’ve encountered on previous jobs. Inquire about how they found a solution and the steps they took to overcome these obstacles. The best fit out contractor will talk to you at length about their answers to your questions and will also discuss the technical details and considerations of a project.

Recommendations. After viewing the contractor’s portfolio and meeting with them, ask for the contact information of some of their past or current clients. Call up these clients and ask them questions about the project. Find out if they were satisfied with the job and if the contractor met their needs. Ask about their experience of working with the contractor as well. Their answers should then give you a fair idea of what you can expect if you hire this company.

How to Serve Receive a Volleyball

Feet Position

When performing a skill in just about any sport, you want to start from the athletic position. Your feet are the most important part because they will set up the rest of your body. Keep your feet slightly staggered, with one a little ahead of the other.

Lower Body

If setting up your feet got you into the athletic position, then your knees should already be bent. You also want to keep your weight balanced over the balls of your feet.

Upper Body

Bend slightly at the waist so you are somewhat leaning forward, but also maintaining your balance. Be sure to have a clear view of the server, face the server, and be aware where the setter is.

Hand Position

If you are right-handed, place your right hand fingers over your left hand fingers. Bring sides of palms together. Push your thumbs against each other, extend your arms out in front of your body, and raise the pits of your elbow up towards the ceiling. Lift your wrists will pressing your thumbs down towards the floor.

When waiting for the serve, you do not want to have your hands grasped and ready to pass. You must move to the ball first, then put your hands in the correct position to pass.

The Platform

The platform is a word you will come across often in volleyball. The platform is where you will contact the ball on your arms while passing. The best advice I ever received about the platform is to pretend that you have a piece of plywood lying in your arms from your biceps to your wrists.

The Process of the Pass

Your body should be slightly bent forward at the waist. Contact the ball at the midpoint of your body from your solid “plywood” platform. Do not allow your platform to go above your eyes. Do not ever swing your arms. This will make for some crazy passes. Instead of swinging your arms to pass, use your legs to guide the ball where you need it to go. Also, use your shoulders to help shape the pass. Square your shoulders towards your setter during the act of the pass and while you are contacting the ball. This will help you make a good pass.

Summary of Serve Receive

1. Do not forget about the athletic position. Your feet should stay slightly staggered and also shoulder width apart.

2. Your knees are bent and your weight is over the balls of your feet.

3. Bend your upper body at the waist. Maintain a clear view of the server and face the server.

4. Remember your hand position but do nothing until you have moved your body to where the ball is going.

5. Maintain a solid platform by imagining that you have a piece of plywood running from your biceps to your wrists.

6. Use your legs and your shoulders when passing the ball. Avoid swinging your arms.

Ask the Engineer – "Gutter Covers Vs Cleaning the Gutters?"

You see ads for gutter protectors every where telling you that you’ll never have to clean gutters again, but before you buy, think twice. In fact don’t think; do research. The cost of gutter protection can range from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars.

Since most gutter covers are known for poor performance, it might make more sense to contract a gutter cleaning service several times a year for between $75 to $100 or so. And if indeed you can find a reputable insured company that will service you it’s probably the best way to go. Yet, that may be a difficult challenge; and having someone else or you cleaning your gutters may not be the way to go. Why? Answer: There are several reasons:

1. Not all gutter cleaners do a good job. Rosemary paid $75 to have her gutters cleaned and just three days later they overflowed. Did the contractor do a bad job or did enough leaves fall to clog the downspout? Answer: No way to tell.

2. The fellow Joe hired to clean his gutters didn’t have any insurance. Big problem! Unfortunately there was an accident with the ladder and the fellow sued Joe; and Joe went through a nightmare the fellow’s doctors and Joe’s own insurance company.

3. Claire had a company clean her gutters at an advertised price of $75 but ended up paying $350. The company replaced end caps, drop tubes, elbows and charged her an arm and a leg for every additional service.

4. Jim always cleaned his gutters until his ladder slipped and he ended up falling through his living room bay window and ended up in the hospital with a broken pelvis.

Yes, to avoid these issues, it looks like the smart thing to do is install a gutter protector with a promise to solve clogged gutter problems. But buyer be ware. If you choose the wrong product it can also be nightmarish with flooded basements, mildew, mold, soil erosion, and worse yet the be totally dependent on the installing company as you can no longer access your own gutters to clean them.

So let’s do some research. Basically there are six different types of gutter protection devices:

1. Screening devices which are not really recognized as gutter protection devices. Made of wire, metal, or plastic, they work simply with gravity and require routine ladder maintenance.

2. Filters, membranes, and brushes installed in or on existing gutters. Basically they are not any more effective than screens and require routine ladder maintenance.

3. Fin type with rounded front nose and solid flat top. Their advertising graphics lead you to believe that debris is jettisoned off onto the ground when instead in medium-to-high debris areas enough debris sticks to the surface to clog the gutters. Here you have to depend on the installing company for service. See resource box for photos.

4. Flat solid top with rounded front nose and a trough–fin type with trough. Since the basic fin type fails, the next progression was to add a trough. But it doesn’t take a college graduate to see that debris that goes into the trough (basic screening system) will either clog the trough or break down and pass into the gutter and clog it. See resource box for photos.

5. Flipping type gutter or rain dispersal units. These require removing your gutters and installing either a gutter with a hinge that gets flipped or fins (installed horizontal to the fascia board) to disperse the water. They both look viable until you see them work. The rain dispersal unit doesn’t work in slow rain fall and debris lays on top of it blocking it from working. The flip clean gutter requires a rain coat for when the gutter is full of putrid debris. The flip clean gutters are also known to warp rendering them useless.

6. Rounded front nose with vertical louvered water collectors and a flat solid top. Whereas with the fin type of gutter cover that will pass full sized leaves, the louvers discriminate the size of the debris the gutter cover allows into the gutter. This gutter guard is the only rounded nose type that limits the amount of debris or size of debris that can pass into the gutter.

This one system has proved that gutters can stay free flowing in heavy debris conditions for twenty years; and that’s no small feat. The only downside is that in heavy debris conditions debris can accumulate on the louvers and block them off meaning that some kind of maintenance is required.

Whereas most other products require someone to go up a ladder and clean the gutter or the cover, it can easily be done from the ground using a telescopic pole and brush. Because it’s easy to see where cleaning is required, there’s no guessing where to do the brushing. No rain coats are required (as might be with the flip type gutter) to do this simple task as it can actually be done dressed in a suit and tie.

After all, telling someone, who has to clean his gutters several times during the fall, that no maintenance will be required is like asking the him to believe in Santa Claus.

The Ghosts and Hauntings of Holyrood Palace

A murderous nobleman, an executed queen, and a naked witch are believed to be some of the restless spirits said to walk the venerable halls of Holyrood Palace. Situated at one end of Edinburgh’s prestigious Royal Mile, Holyrood Palace has played a central role in the eventful history of Scotland’s capital. Officially called the Palace of Holyroodhouse, it was the favoured palace of several of Scotland’s rulers, and is currently the UK monarch’s Royal Scottish residence. However in its past, the palace also provided the backdrop for a number of notably gruesome incidents.

When James VI of Scotland was returning from Denmark with his new queen, their ship was almost sunk in a fearsome storm. James had a profound belief in sorcery at the time and was convinced that the storm had been caused by witchcraft. His theories led on to an event in 1590 which came to be known as the North Berwick witch trials, a notorious episode in the country’s history which saw numerous people, of varying rank, rounded up on suspicion of using sorcery against the king. Many of these unfortunates were subsequently imprisoned, tortured, and eventually executed. The North Berwick trials were the first major outbreak of witchcraft persecution in Scotland.

Agnes Sampson was one of the accused in the Berwick trials. Known as the ‘Wise Wife of Keith’, she was brought to Holyrood Palace on specific orders by King James where she was stripped bare and her body shaved. She was then interrogated in the monarch’s presence before being affixed to a wall through the aid of a “Witch’s Bridle”. King James wavered for a while before declaring Agnes guilty of sorcery. She was then taken to Castle Hill, an infamous spot for the execution of convicted witches, where she was strangled and burned at the stake. However some say that this wasn’t the last of Agnes Sampson, and her vengeful ghost, known as ‘Bald Agnes’, is still rumoured to roam nude around Holyrood Palace, the place of her terrible captivity.

In the realms of the supernatural, the ghost of Mary, Queen of Scots is arguably one of the most ubiquitous of phantoms. There have been reports of her apparition at several locations in Scotland, including Stirling Castle and Craignethan Castle, as well as in England, where she was ultimately beheaded; a particularly messy execution that took place in Fotheringhay Castle on February 8, 1587. She lived at Holyrood Palace between 1561 and 1567 and her much-travelled spirit is still reputed to visit the place. The ghost of Mary’s second husband, Henry Stewart, more commonly known as Lord Darnley, is also said to haunt Holyrood. His spectre has apparently been sighted on numerous occasions roaming the palace grounds with a guilt-ridden countenance.

In 1566, the palace was the setting for a frightful murder when David Rizzio, a young Italian courtier and private secretary to Mary, Queen of Scots, was brutally done to death by Lord Darnley and his cohorts. The hot-headed Darnley had grown terribly jealous of Rizzio’s close relationship with his wife. The Italian had been playing cards with Mary when Darnley, accompanied by several noblemen, burst into the queen’s private chambers via means of a hidden staircase. Rizzio’s body was thrown down the main staircase at Holyrood after being stabbed 56 times. The young Italian’s ghost is said to still haunt the palace and there is also an indelible bloodstain on the spot where he perished, apparently still visible to this day.

Before Buying, Always Read The Condo Bylaws

When you buy a condominium, you are purchasing property that has associated common property. Condo bylaws explain the use and care of these common areas. The condominium you purchase is often only the interior space. Open areas, outside walls, roof, outside stairways and parking areas are all a part of the common areas.

Condo bylaws ensure that the property is used and taken care of in a proper manner. The bylaws help to guarantee that you or your neighbors do not do something that would lower the value of the entire condominium. They also are written in such a way as to keep everything fair for each owner.

If you are considering purchasing a condominium, it is important that you read the bylaws before the purchase. You will want to be sure that you can live by these bylaws before making a major investment. If there is something in them that will prevent you from using your new home in the way you want, you need to know this information before you make the purchase.

The bylaws of a condominium will specify how the board of directors of the association is selected. They also will describe your part in the decision making process of electing the board members. In addition, the bylaws specify how you will be billed for any major repairs that are necessary as well as the maintenance fees to the association that are used for maintenance and minor repairs.

The subjects that are covered in the bylaws can be multiple. Most of the time, the bylaws are written by the original developer of the condominium. The bylaws are recorded documents that become a part of the deed record of each unit that is sold. They may specify regulations regarding pets, parking or use of the condominium and a plethora of other information.

While most records of the condominium association are available for inspection, some of the records may be closed. Often the records that are closed are designated by state law. Those records may include the owners of other condominiums, as well as matters related to race, gender, sexual orientation, or religion.

If your seller cannot supply you with a copy of the condo bylaws, they should be of public record. You may purchase or view a copy at the county recorder’s office. In addition, a title company should be able to provide you with a copy of the recorded documents. If you have already purchased the condominium, a copy of the bylaws should have been included with your title insurance.

Although purchasing a condominium is often less expensive than the purchase of a single family home, it may be much more complicated. Most state laws require that condominiums have a recorded set of condo bylaws before the first condo is built. These bylaws may be very complex and give strict limits of the rights of the condo owner. Make sure that you take time to read and understand these documents before you make a purchase.

Balloon Framing Gable Walls

Prior to the 1950’s balloon framing of new homes was the standard construction method, until the advent of platform framing. Platform framing is a safer, quicker, and more cost effective method than balloon framing. With that being said, balloon framing still has many effective uses in modern house framing that can be incorporated with platform framing for a safer, sturdier, and more cost effective home.

Balloon framing originated in Chicago in the early 1830’s and replaced the prior construction method of mortise and tenon. The name originated from the old mortise and tenon carpenters when they first saw the framing method in use. With the long skinny framing members being utilized and held together with only nails, they thought it would probably be blown away with the next strong gust of wind just like a balloon. The name caught on and has endured to this day.


  • Balloon framed gable walls are very tall, usually eighteen feet or more above the floor level. This added height requires the use of scaffolding for the framing carpenters, electrician, plumber, heating ventilation and air conditioning, insulator, drywall installer, painter, and trim carpenter resulting in higher labor costs.
  • Fire can travel up the stud bay just like in a chimney, to mitigate the risk of fire, blocking should be installed at each ceiling and floor level.
  • The required use of longer studs increases the cost per lineal foot resulting in still higher expenditures.
  • These walls can be very heavy and dangerous, even life threatening, to raise requiring the use of proper lifting equipment and highly trained personnel. The hazards of manually lifting balloon framed walls has been clearly defined by OSHA.


  • The longer studs resist wind loads better and help to reduce drywall cracking and nail pops.
  • Very large windows with rounded, arched, or angled tops can be installed to enhance the aesthetic appeal of the home.
  • Ability to construct a tall chimney.
  • Two story open foyer.
  • Great room.

When considering the use of balloon framing to enhance the look and livability of your new home the advantages and disadvantages should be weighed carefully.

Tips to Clean Your Home With Essential Oils

Have you ever noticed that ALL your commercial cleaning products list “warning” or “caution” labels on the bottles? Obviously, those labels are put there for a very good reason. The bottles DO contain poison and can cause adverse symptoms if inhaled or touched. Yikes!

Here’s where we can shift to a new concept of cleaning, without worry of chemicals, fumes, or synthetics harming our bodies. Essential oils are the best kept secret for cleaning and purifying your environment.

Amazingly, essential oils are just as powerful as conventional cleaners.

It’s very simple and a lot less expensive when you use essential oils instead of store-bought regular cleaners. The essential oils in this article anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-microbial. And the best part is they are 100% safe and even good for you! Conventional cleaners can’t say that.

Using the highest quality therapeutic grade essential oils (such as young Living’s) is of utmost importance. Poor quality oils are not effective in killing germs, nor are they safe to use in the ways I describe in this article.

Here are a few ways to achieve a healthy, clean home using essential oils.


If you mop your floors

(tile, wood, laminate, marble) – replace your floor cleaner and use a bucket of water with 10-20 drops of Lemon and/or Lavender essential oils. Research has shown that lemon and lavender essential oils kill many strains of bacteria. And it’s completely safe to inhale and walk upon!

If you steam or Roomba your floors

(tile, wood, laminate, marble) – walk through the house and drop a few drops of Lemon and/or Lavender essential oils in various places. Especially by the front door, garbage can area, bathrooms and kitchen. As you steam the floor, the essential oils will be dispersed by the steamer or roomba, killing bacteria, mold and viruses in the process.

If you vacuum your floors

– put 5 drops of Lemon and/or Lavender essential oil on a tissue and vacuum it up. This will kill the germs that get sucked up in your vacuum and also diffuse the oils into your home leaving it smelling wonderful!

Air Purifiers:

To have a clean air environment, get rid of that air freshener that’s plugged into your wall! Its fragrance is definitely not of therapeutic value. Use a few drops of Thieves or Purification essential oil blends on a cotton ball and place it in your AC vent. Both of these blends were formulated to kill airborne bacteria, viruses, mold and fungus. They also neutralize smoke and pet odors.

Or better yet, get yourself a cold air diffuser and diffuse either of these essential oils every day.

Hand Wash:

To make a chemical free, germ-killing hand wash, use up the remainder of your foaming hand wash and save the bottle. Now, fill it 1/8th full with Dr. Bronners liquid castile soap (or organic dish washing soap.) Fill the rest with spring water. Add 10 drops of Thieves essential oil. Shake well and use at the kitchen and bathroom sinks.

Hand Disinfectant:

Loose your Purell and get a bottle of Lemon essential oil. Rub 1 drop of Lemon essential oil into hands after using public restrooms. Lemon essential oil kills germs while uplifting your mood as well. What a bonus!

See how just a few changes in your cleaning routine can easily replace a bunch of chemical cleaning products in your home? I suggest starting slow by eliminating one cleaning product per week and incorporating an essential oil in its place. Soon you will be truly “greener” than anyone else you know and probably a bit healthier, too!

© Christa McCourt